A morally intricate and fascinating look at the unjust execution of five German prisoners of war reveals the history of US and German POW camps in a way that “reads like the best legal thrillers” (Gerry Spence, New York Times bestselling author).
On November 4, 1943, more than 200 German prisoners of war jammed into the mess hall of an American POW camp in Tonkawa, Oklahoma. Before the evening was over, one of them, Corporal Johannes Kunze—accused of treason—would lie in a pool of his own blood, savagely beaten to death by his fellow prisoners.
Within three months, five men present in that mess hall were accused, tried, and sentenced to death for the murder of Kunze—a sentence carried out in July 1945, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Here, for the first time, the remarkable true story behind these events is revealed: the stark conditions in POW camps, the tactics used by military intelligence to tempt informants and turn prisoners against each other, the one-sided legal battle dominated by a sharp young military prosecutor, and the passions and politics of war that insured there would be no mercy for Kunze and his accused killers.
A powerful and controversial account of crime and punishment, Extreme Justice demonstrated how—beyond innocence or guilt—the search for justice can be lost in the desire for blood and revenge.